This year marks the 10 year anniversary of my start in consulting. I’ve been reminiscing lately about when I started. I remember getting one of two reactions when I first told people I was becoming a consultant:
First was the “look” that silently said “oh, you mean you’re going to consult until a great job comes along”. For those people, I found it took about a year for them to realize that consulting was my profession. Not a part-time hobby.
The other was “oh, it must be great to never work for a company again.”
My answer for the second one was (and still is)…never say never. I’ve always said if someone offers my dream job, I just might take it. Now, that hasn’t happened and it’s not the point. It’s keeping our minds open to new ideas and opportunities.
For example, I know several people looking for new jobs right now who have a long list of demands – no relocation, no excess travel, no staying late, no working on holidays, no cuts in pay or benefits…and the list goes on. When I listen to them, it reminds me that some of the best professional experiences I’ve ever had came as a result of me not saying I’d “never” do something.
Same thing with social media. I’ve seen people say, “I’ll never put ads on my blog.” Or “I’ll never friend my coworkers on Facebook.” Or “I’ll never talk about what my company does.” Never is a really long time. As times change, so do our views. And what might not seem to make sense today, could make a lot of sense months or even weeks from now.
There are a few exceptions to the “never” rule. Things that are considered illegal, immoral or unethical. But I also have to keep in mind…sometimes even illegal, immoral and unethical can be interpreted subjectively. So the possibility exists that today’s “I’ll never do that…” becomes tomorrow’s “Well, if others are doing it then why can’t I? Maybe I’m being too rigid.”
The word “never” can create some roadblocks to creativity, innovation and our professional growth. Maybe we should never say “never” again.